progress in economics (cont.)

Doug Henwood dhenwood at
Thu Jun 4 08:22:28 PDT 1998

Who says "Marxists" can be as silly as neoclassicals?



"A Note on the Transfer of Power from Parties to Candidates"


University of California at Davis

Paper ID: UC Davis Working Paper #97-23

Date: September 1997

Contact: Donna Wills Raymond

E-Mail: MAILTO:dwraymond at

Postal: University of California at Davis,

Department of Economics, One Shields Drive,

Davis, California 95616-8578 USA

Phone: (916) 752-9240

Fax: (916) 752-9382

HARD COPY PAPER REQUESTS: Papers are $3.00 in the U.S. and

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"Regents of the University of California," and drawn on

U.S. banks. We do not invoice, accept purchase orders, or

cash. Requests must be accompanied by payment, and mailed

to Donna Wills Raymond at the Department of Economics,

University of California, Davis, CA 95616

It is commonly held that power has been transferred from

political parties to candidates in the last fifty years,

and that television is the cause. This paper constructs a

game-theoretical model of political competition in which a

technological innovation, like television, can have this

effect. Political competition takes place between two teams,

each consisting of a party and its candidate. The party is

principal, the candidate, the agent. Each part have policy

preferences (it is Left or Right); candidates, however,

wish solely to maximize the probability of victory, net of

effort costs. Parties use campaign finance to motivate

candidates to expend effort. The party chooses a schedule

according to which it invests in the campaign as a function

of the policy the candidate announces. Equilibrium is Nash

equilibrium between parties, where the strategies are

schedules (functions) of campaign financing, where each

party is constrained by the actions its agent (the

candidate) will take.

A definition of power is proposed, and it is argued that

television has changed the model parameters in such a way

as to transfer power from parties to candidates.

JEL Classification: D72

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